Officials with the Linn County Public Health Department say air quality on the southwest side of town should not be impacted now that responders have controlled a fire that broke out along 41st street Friday morning.
According to KCRG TV and the Gazette, firefighters responded to reports of a large fire with thick, black smoke at CC Recycling, formerly known as K’s Acres around 11:30 Friday morning.
The facility processes scrap metal and has many used cars on site as part of that process.
Public Safety spokesperson Greg Buelow said the fire broke out when a male employee was in the process of draining a scrap vehicle of gasoline. Buelow said the gasoline leaked on to the ground where it was ignited by a spark from a nearby forklift.
The employee sustained some burn injuries and was taken to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City. An update on the man’s condition nor the severity of his injuries were available Friday evening.
Buelow said 41st Avenue Drive SW was the only street closed while firefighters were on the scene, but traffic jams developed around the building as a result of people driving into the area to check out the fire. Dispatch was overwhelmed with calls about the fire that produced a plume of thick, black smoke over Cedar Rapids.
The smoke likely came from tires burning in the fire, and the Linn County Public Health Department was on scene to monitor air quality as firefighters worked to put it out.
Though scrap metal, oil and tires were damaged in the fire, Buelow said there was no structural damage to any buildings on the site. An estimate of damages was not available.
Shane Dodge, air quality supervisor with Linn County Public Health, said air quality concerns stemmed from smoke being released into the air during the fire, and there have not been concerns about air quality related to the fire since it was put out.